The Centre County Library Bookmobile is now outfitted with equipment to assist people with visual impairment in accessing books and other printed matter available from the bookmobile. A new project of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA called “Get REAL-Regional Education Assisting Life Long Learning” is bringing magnification technologies to select bookmobiles to locations across Pennsylvania.
Visitors to the bookmobile will find a portable video magnifier, designed to make reading easier for people with visual impairment such as age-related macular degeneration. Bookmobile staff members have been trained to help patrons use the equipment, and provide other resources as needed.
Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and with funds from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation’s Independent Living Older Blind Program, and in partnership with the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, the Get REAL project will help ensure the full inclusion of all people, especially those with disabilities. According to 2009 statistics, 15% of Pennsylvania’s urban population, and 17% of its rural population, was aged 65 or older. Since it is this population that is most affected by vision loss, it is imperative that public spaces, such as libraries and bookmobiles, be fully accessible.
The Get REAL project collaborates with community resources throughout the Commonwealth, including the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind and regional resource centers of Pennsylvania's Initiative on Assistive Technology, to encourage ongoing support to individuals who are blind or partially sighted.
For more information about the Centre County Library Bookmobile, contact 814-355-1516. For more information about the Get REAL project, including information about the equipment, go to the website of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University: www.disabilities.temple.edu/  or contact project coordinator Jamie A. Prioli, ATP at Jamie.Prioli@temple.edu  or 215-204-5974 (voice), 866-268-0579 (TTY).